Deer Hunters Cringe as Wolf Population Increases by 16 Percent


If one of the worst predators on deer increased in population by 16 percent in one year in your area or state you’d probably be pretty doggone concerned.

Gray wolf. (US Fish & Wildlife Service)

Gray wolf. (US Fish & Wildlife Service)

You might be more concerned, or even pretty doggone mad, if there were no hunting or trapping season for these predators thanks to government and court decisions. Probably mad, I’d bet.

Deer hunters in Wisconsin have to be concerned with the latest information about the state’s wolf population. It’s increased by at least 16 percent in the last year according to surveys by the Wisconsin DNR. Packs rose from 208 to 222 and the average pack size rose from 3 to 3.8 wolves.

Paul Smith of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reported the findings of the DNR survey in this report:

Wisconsin had a minimum of 866 to 897 gray wolves in 222 packs in the winter of 2015-’16, according to a report released Thursday by the Department of Natural Resources.

The population represents a record high for the species in Wisconsin in the modern era and a 16 percent increase from 2014-’15.

The increase comes after the first year since 2012 in which the state did not have a wolf hunting and trapping season. A federal judge in December 2014 placed the wolf in the western Great Lakes region, including Wisconsin, under protections of the Endangered Species Act, effectively prohibiting lethal management by state officials.

Our own Dan Schmidt weighed in with his opinion on the ruling and prohibition of hunting and trapping seasons.

Smith’s report said the state’s wolf range is mostly in the northern and central forest regions. The survey was conducted in winter, it said, by DNR employees and volunteers. The survey covered more than 17,750 miles.

Hunting and trapping was allowed from 2012-14, with more than 525 wolves were reported killed to state officials. The wolves were returned to Endangered Species Act status by a federal judge’s ruling when he declared them part of the protected western Great Lakes region. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service has appealed that decision.

Read the full report here.


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One thought on “Deer Hunters Cringe as Wolf Population Increases by 16 Percent

  1. ssm1959

    As a land owner in the Wisconsin CWD zone I do not consider this all bad. The data shows a preference for wolf depredation on CWD affected animals. Anything that removes these from the population quickly is not a bad thing.

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